Tips On How To Effectively Manage Your Firm Remotely
With the developing events of the coronavirus pandemic, many financial advisors are learning to manage their firm remotely and adjusting to an entirely new work-from-home routine themselves.
For many of us the transition to a strictly virtual office is out of our comfort zones. It’s common to have challenges around maintaining effective communication, balancing expectations while remaining flexible, and keeping company morale and motivation high. The good news is that all of these challenges can be overcome with the correct plan in place!
Here are 3 tips for helping your team adjust to our new way of working:
- Find the Right Online Tools for Your Practice
- Cloud-based Office Packages
- Virtual Communication Tools
- Integration & Collaboration Tools
- Balance Expectations & Flexibility
- Schedule a Daily Team Chat
- Acknowledge the Learning Curve
- Stay Connected & Motivated
- Social Company Meetings
Find The Right Online Tools for Your Practice
To get your team working productively from home, set them up with the right tools. Selecting the right tools will ensure your team communicates effectively, structures their time efficiently, and has the ability to easily share necessary documents and files.
Cloud-Based Office Packages:
Many successful remote companies find that having company-wide cloud-based office packages such as G Suite or Microsoft Teams is vital to a team’s collaboration. Of course, within financial service, cloud computing can be complicated, depending on the documents you’re sharing with your team. So, always check with your broker-dealer’s compliance team before purchasing or sharing documents via cloud-based software.
Another benefit of having a company-wide office package is that depending on your email domain, your calendars can be visible and compatible with the rest of your frequently used tools. Making it easy to schedule meetings throughout the day.
Virtual Communication Tools:
Video calls are exceptionally effective at keeping your team accountable and connected. It's the closest experience to a face-to-face meeting, and with the state of technology today, almost everyone has easy access to FaceTime or other forms of video communication. Apart from Apple FaceTime, one of the most popular platforms for team video conferencing is Zoom. This platform allows your entire team to meet at once, share screens, and even host events such as webinars or training sessions.
|Our Director of Growth, Nitesh Verma, recently had a candid conversation with Derek Notman CFP® about how he turned his traditional firm into an entirely virtual practice. Watch the video here!|
Another popular option for video conferencing is Microsoft Teams / Skype (Microsoft for Business). If your firm uses Microsoft Office and Outlook email, the functionality of this video conferencing will be a smooth experience.
Google Hangouts is another great option. Similar to Microsoft, the more tools you use from the same software provider, the easier the compatibility you will find between platforms. For instance, if your firm uses Gmail and Google Suite, you will already have this resource available to you! (This platform has the bonus of being completely free).
|For more video conferencing tools, check out our blog Tools & Tips to Communicate with Clients During Uncertainty.|
Integration & Collaboration Tools
Other handy tools for remote offices are Slack and Zapier. Slack is an instant messaging app with the ability to create channels for specific topics and easily share files with one another. They also offer a built-in video call feature. For remote workers, in particular, you're not able to pop by your coworker's office and ask them a quick question, and why wait for them to check their inbox? Their slogan is appropriate 'Slack brings the team together, wherever you are.'
Zapier helps you to integrate various apps and software tools you’re already using to create seamless workflows! Zapier can be a huge time-saving tool depending on what software you're currently using. It's worth checking out to see if there are areas you can automate to help boost productivity.
Balance Expectations & Flexibility
Through these unique times, although maintaining 'business as usual' is important, the adjustment of working from home can be overwhelming when combined with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people have to adjust to a new working style (which under normal circumstances can take weeks), in combination with the extra home and societal stresses!
Through this transition, it's necessary to be there for our coworkers and to balance expectations of work performance with flexibility. Factor in the external factors that could be hindering performance while the adjustment takes place.
Here are a few ways that you can maintain structure in your working days, maintain accountability and productivity while allowing flexibility in your team's schedule:
Keep in Constant Communication by Scheduling a Daily Team Chat:
A great way to maintain structure is to find a time during the day where everyone has 10-15 minutes to spare and schedule a daily check-in meeting. We recommend starting the day out with a 'Wins Review,' 'Daily Huddle,' or 'Water-cooler Chat.' Something as simple as sharing accomplishments from the day before and any current obstacles you're facing at work to bring back a sense of normality and community to your day. These conversations are great at keeping your team on track and accountable, while at the same time creating a space for communication around the unique challenges and struggles you're facing together.
Don’t Forget About the Learning Curve!
Be patient! Working remotely will be more of an adjustment for some members of your team. For those who are not familiar with using virtual tools, it will take some time to get over the learning curve.
Stay Motivated & Connected
The concept of remote business is nothing new, in fact in the U.S., 4.7 million employees (3.4% of the workforce) work from home at least half the week and roughly 62% of employees between 22 and 65 say they work remotely at least occasionally.
However, a common complaint of remote workers is feeling disconnected from the rest of their team in the office. Because of COVID-19, this feeling of isolation is heightened as many companies were forced to move their businesses remote very suddenly, and social distancing is highly recommended to help slow the curve of the impact of the coronavirus.
Social Company Meetings:
Take your routine meetings to the next level! Schedule a weekly happy hour or regroup at the end of the week! Also, don't underestimate virtual coffee chats with your colleagues. One of the unique challenges of working remotely during the coronavirus is that you're not able to catch up outside of work. Don't let this stop you from being social!
All staff at Advisor Websites are doing our part to keep each other safe and fight this virus by working remotely until further notice. We've implemented many of the tools & tips shared here, and hope they're as helpful to your team as they've been to ours!
Clients of Advisor Websites:
We may be remote (& socially distanced) but we’re available to help Monday to Friday 10:30am to 8pm ES. Give us a call at 1-866-638-0273 or schedule a time here if you have any questions or need help making changes to your website with a coronavirus update.
We what to hear how COVID-19 is affecting your practice and day-to-day activities. Tell us your experience at email@example.com, we are in this together! Stay safe and social(ly distant).
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